What To Do When Your Car Is Totaled
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Being involved in a car accident is traumatic, even when no serious injuries are sustained. Property damage to a vehicle, particularly when it results in loss of use to its owner, can cause a wide variety of financial and logistical problems since people rely on their vehicles to get around, and they are a significant financial commitment and investment. A skilled auto accident attorney can understand the details of the accident and provide solutions.
Not all vehicle damage can be repaired after a car accident. When repairs can be made, the expense of those repairs may be more than the car owner can afford to pay out-of-pocket. Fortunately, this is where most people get the benefit of having auto insurance coverage.
Steps to Take If Your Car Is Totaled in a Car Accident
After a car accident, most people believe they simply need to file a claim with their insurance provider in order to receive payment to cover the necessary repairs or replace the vehicle if it is beyond repair. However, recovering financial remuneration for a car that has been totaled in an accident is often a lot easier said than done.
What to Do with a Totaled Car?
If your car has been totaled in an accident, you may be wondering what to do after a car accident. The following steps will give you a significant advantage when seeking to maximize your claim after a car accident has totaled your vehicle:
- Determine the various sources of coverage from which you may be able to seek damages.
If your vehicle is damaged in a car accident caused by another driver, the responsible driver’s insurance company may cover the cost of repair or replacement. In cases where an uninsured driver causes the accident, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage may cover the entirety of your losses. If you cause the accident, and no other parties can be held accountable, you will probably be able to recover costs through the collision coverage of your own policy.
- Find out what the insurance company’s appraisal says your vehicle is worth.
Before an insurance company will decide to pay for repairs to your vehicle or simply replace it, an appraisal will need to be done.
- Figure out whether you would rather keep your vehicle (for sentimental or other reasons) or replace it.
Most insurance companies would rather make repairs to your vehicle unless the cost to make such repairs far exceeds the vehicle’s value. Insurance companies will usually total a vehicle when repair costs are equal or greater than 65 to 75 percent of the value of the vehicle. If you would rather keep your vehicle, you should provide maintenance records and records of improvements that could boost the vehicle’s value. This can help persuade your insurance company to opt for making repairs to your vehicle rather than replacing it.
- Receive your insurance company’s initial offer.
At this point, most insurance companies will offer a settlement amount to cover repairing or replacing your vehicle. These offers are usually far below the amount you might expect. Instead of accepting or agreeing to the terms of your insurance company’s initial offer, you may need to contest the offer.
- Contest your insurance company’s offer or agree to settle.
It is important you protect your rights. Once you deposit an insurance check issued to you by your provider, you give up your legal right to pursue additional compensation. Unless the insurance company’s offer covers your repair costs or is sufficient to cover the cost of replacing your vehicle, you do not want to settle.
- Hire an experienced Alabama car accident attorney.
A car accident attorney from Belt & Bruner, P.C. can inform you of your legal rights, advise you on how to proceed with your claim, and help you get the maximum settlement under the terms of your policy. You may get a larger settlement by working with an attorney than trying to handle the insurer on your own.
Protecting Your Rights When Your Vehicle Is Involved in an Accident
Following these tips will help you receive a fair and just settlement according to the terms of your insurance coverage. It will also decrease the possibility that you will have to cover the cost of such repairs out of pocket or purchase a new vehicle with your own money. A skilled auto accident attorney can provide additional suggestions and advice.
It is essential that you have adequate insurance coverage, and that you have made advance preparations in the event you are ever involved in an accident. Without lessening the importance of such actions, it is often what you do immediately following an accident that will have the most dramatic impact on the outcome of any insurance claim you may file. Knowing what to do after a car accident will not only help you protect your rights, but it allows you to recover the compensation you deserve.
Alabama Car Accident Attorney: Legal Help When a Car Is Totaled
If your car has been totaled, maximizing your compensation will depend heavily on your ability to prove the true value of your vehicle. We assist clients who have been injured in car accidents to successfully appeal a valuation of their damaged vehicle. We can help you gather the evidence needed to convince the insurer of your car’s real value so proper repairs can be done or you can receive a new vehicle of equal worth.
We realize negotiating with insurance companies, or doing any business with them, is never enjoyable. Insurers are never inclined to give you more of their money than they are absolutely required to give. They want to do what is most cost-effective for them, regardless of your own wishes. This could mean they try to convince you to settle for a lower amount than you should receive, or attempt to sway your decision to repair or total your vehicle based solely on what is in their best interests.
When Experience Matters
Hiring a seasoned car accident attorney can help you make sure the insurance company does what it is supposed to do. For more information on what Belt & Bruner, P.C. can do for you, we recommend you call us today at 205-933-1500 or use our online form to schedule an appointment. Our Alabama personal injury lawyers offer free consultations where we will go over your legal rights and advise you of the options you may wish to pursue.